California school trustees say parents want classes resumed so teachers can 'babysit' kids, quit after Zoom leak
The board members reportedly made disparaging remarks about parents believing the Zoom meeting was private
Members of a northern California school board resigned their positions on Friday, February 19, after they were caught mocking parents during a Zoom meeting that was accidentally broadcast to the public. Lisa Brizendine, the president of the Oakley Union Elementary School District, and other members who constitute rest of the board -- Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito and Richie Masadas -- have quit the board.
Schools Superintendent Greg Hetrick had issued an apology on Thursday, February 18, for what he described as board members' "truly inappropriate comments." Hetrick said in a statement, "The comments made were not in alignment with our vision and are definitely not what any of us stand for as leaders. I know that we lost trust with the community. I will not make excuses for what happened or why it happened," adding, "I have been and continue to be committed to working together for the betterment of the Oakley Union Elementary School District students, staff, and entire school community."
The #Oakley school board members under scrutiny for their comments have all resigned tonight. Here's the full letter sent out from the superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District. @KTVU pic.twitter.com/3e6sucKmTZ— Cristina Rendon (@CristinaKTVU) February 20, 2021
Beede told NBC News, “I am going to try really hard to get through this without crying. I was frustrated and I apologize for that. I apologize everybody had to hear that but again it was supposed to be a private conversation and I want to make sure everyone knows everybody is here for the best interest of the students.”
Brizendine said, “We were having a private conversation because we were really struggling at that moment with all the board comments coming in because we want what’s best for the kids so badly.”
Beede, Ippolito and Masadas said in a statement, “We deeply regret the comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week. As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff, and it is our obligation to build confidence in District leadership; our comments failed you in both regards, and for this, we offer our sincerest apology.”
They added, “We love our students, our teachers, and our community, and we want to be part of the remedy to help the District move forward, returning its full focus to students’ needs. To help facilitate the healing process, we will be resigning our positions as Trustees of the Oakley Union Elementary School District, effective immediately. The Superintendent will be working with the Contra Costa County Office of Education to address the vacancies on the Board of Education.”
They further said, “This was a difficult decision, but we hear the community’s concerns, and we believe yielding to your request that we step down will allow the District to move forward. Please do not let our failure in judgment cast a shadow on the exceptional work that our teachers, administrators, and hard-working employees are doing for the students of this District. They deserve and will need your support as you move forward.”
What did they say?
1) When officials at the Oakley Union Elem. School district thought they were meeting privately, they used profanity to insult & threaten parents upset by the district's prolonged school closures.— Bigad Shaban (@BigadShaban) February 18, 2021
Here's when they realized their mtg was being broadcast to the public.
"Uh, oh." pic.twitter.com/OXbHWq9FMy
A recorded meeting from Wednesday night was posted on social media. The board members reportedly believed the meeting was private. Brizendine made disparaging remarks about parents who "want their babysitters back."
"They forget there's real people on the other side of those letters that they're writing. ... They don't know what we know behind the scenes, and it's really unfortunate they want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back," she said.
"If you're gonna call me out, I'm gonna f**k you up," one board member is heard saying. The Oakley Union school is located east of San Francisco and serves around 5,000 students.